Billeder på siden


With brutal acquiescence in the mire?
Lorenzo ! no ! they shall be nobly pain'd;
The glorious foreigners, distress’d, shall figh
On thrones ; and thou congratulate the sigh:
Man's misery declares him born for bliss ;
His anxious heart asserts the truth I sing,
And gives the sceptic in his head the lye.

Our heads, our hearts, our pasions, and our power's,
Speak the same language; call us to the skies;
Unripen'd these in this inclement clime,

Scarce rise above conjecture and mistake ;
And for this land of trifles those too strong
Tumultuous rise, and tempest human life :
What prize on earth can pay us for the storm ?
Meet objects for our passions, heaven ordain'd, 70
Objects that challenge all their fire, and leave
No fault, but in defect: Bleft Heaven ! avert
A bounded ardour for unbounded bliss !
O for a bliss unbounded ! far beneath
A soul immortal, is a mortal joy.

Nor are our powers to perish immature ;
But, after feeble effort bere, beneath
A brighter fun, and in a nobler foil,
Transplanted from this sublunary bed,
Shall Aourish fair, and put forth all their bloom.

Reason progressive, instinct is complete ;
Swift instinct leaps; flow reason feebly climbs.
Brutes soon their zenith reach; their little all
Flows in at once ; in ages they no more
Could know, or do, or covet, or enjoy,

[ocr errors]


85 Were

NI 3

Were man to live coëval with the fun,
The patriarch-pupil would be learning still;
Yet, dying, leave his lesson half unlearnt.
Men perih in advance, as if the sun
Should set ere noon, in eastern oceans drown'd; go
If fit, with dim, illustrious to compare,
The sun's meridian with the foul of man.
To man, why, step-dame cature ! so severe ?
Why thrown afide thy master-piece half-wrought,
While meaner efforts thy last hand enjoy?

Or, if abortively poor man must die,
Nor reach, what reach he might, why die in dread?
Why curft with foresight ? Wise to misery?
Why of his proud prerogative the prey ?
Why less pre-eminent in rank, than pain? 100
His immortality alone can tell ;
Full ample fund to balance all amiss,
And turn the scale in favour of the juft!

His immortality alone can solve
The darkest of ænigmas, human hope ;.

Of all the darkest, if at death we die.
Hope, eager hope, th' assassin of our joy,
All present blessings treading under foot,
Is scarce a milder tyrant than despair.
With no past toils content, fill planning new,
Hope turns us o'er to death alone for ease.
Poleflion, why more tastless than pursuit ?
Why is a wish far dearer than a crown?
That with accomplish’d, why, the grave of bliss ?
Because, in the great future bury'd deep, 115


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

Beyond our plans of empire, and renown,
Lies all that man with ardour should pursue;
And He who made him, bent him to the right.

Man's heart th' Almighty to the future sets,
By secret and inviolable springs ;
And makes his hope his fublunary joy.
Man's heart eats all things, and is hungery stil ;
“ More, more !"* the glutton cries: for something new
So rages appetite, if man can't mount,
He will defeend. He starves on the polleft. 125
Hence, the world's master, from ambition's spire,
In Caprea plung'd; and div'd beneath the brute.
In that rank fty why wallow'd empire's son
Supreme? Because he could no higher fly ;
His riot was ambition in despair.

Old Rome consulted birds ; Lorenzo ! thou,
With more success, the flight of hope survey;
Of restless hope, for ever on the wing.
High-perch'd o'er every thought that falcon fits,
To fly at all that rises in her sight;
And, never stooping, but to mount again,
Next moment, she betrays her aim's mistake,
And owns her quarry lodg'd beyond the grave.

There should it fail us (it must fail us there,
If being fails) more mournful riddles rise,

And virtue vies with hope in mystery.
Why virtue ? Where its praise, its being, fled ?
Virtue is true self-interest pursued :
What true self-interest of quite-mortal man ?
To close with all that makes him happy here. 145


If vice (as sometimes) is our friend on earth,
Then vice is virtue ; 'tis our fovereign good.
In felf-applaufe is virtue's golden prize ;
No self-applause attends it on thy scheme:
Whence self-applause? From conscience of the right. 150:
And what is right, but means of happiness?
No means of happiness when virtue yields ;
That bafis failing, falls the building too,
And lays in ruin every virtuous joy.
The rigid guardian of a blameless heart,

So long rever'd, so long reputed wife,
Is weak; with rank knight-errantries o'er-run.
Why beats thy bosom with illustrious dreams
Of self-exposure, laudable, and great ?
Of gallant enterprize, and glorious death ? 160
Die for thy country :-Thou romantic fool!
Seize, feize the plank thyfelf, and let her fink:
Thy country! what to Thee ? _The Godhead, what?
(I speak with awe!) though He should bid thee bleed?
If, with thy blood, thy final hope is spilt, 165,
Nor can Omnipotence reward the blow,
Be deaf ; preserve thy being ; disobey.

Nor is it disobedience : know, Lorenzo! Whate'er th? Almighty's subsequent command, His first command is this :-“ Man, love thyself.” 170 In this alone, free-agents are not free. Existence is the basis, bliss the prize ; If virtue costs existence, 'tis a crime ; Bold violation of our law supreme, Black suicide ; though nations, which consult




Their gain, at thy expence, resound applause.

Since virtue's recompence is doubtful, here, If man dies wholly, well may we demand, Why is man suffer'd to be good in vain ? Why to be good in vain, is man injoin'd? 180 Why to be good in vain, is man betray'd? Betray'd by traitors lodg'd in his own breast, By sweet complacencies from virtue felt? Why whispers nature lyes on virtue's part? Or if blind inftin&t (which assumes the name: Of sacred conscience) plays the fool in man, Why reason made accomplice in the cheat? Why are the wiseft loudest in her praise ?. Can man by reason's beam be led astray... Or, at his peril, imitate his God?

190 Since virtue sometimes ruins us on earth, Or both are true; or man survives the

grave. Or man survives the grave; or own, Lorenzo, Thy boast fupreme, a wild absurdity. Dauntless thy spirit ; cowards are thy scorn. 105 Grant man immortal, and thy scorn is juft, The man immortal, rationally brave, Dares rush on death because he cannot die.. But if man loses All, when life is lost, He lives a coward, or a fool expires. A daring infidel (and such there are, From pride, example, lucre, rage, revenge, Or pure heroical defect of thought), Of all earth's madmen, most deserves a chain... When to the grave. we follow the renown'd

205 For


« ForrigeFortsæt »